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Wed Dec 4, 2013, 04:10 PM

What business is it of the government to fund high-quality preschool and child care?

Matt Valenti, San Diego Union Tribune

What business is it of the government to fund high-quality preschool and child care?

Good business.

A study done by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman concluded that investing in quality preschool programs is a better bet than investing on the stock market, yielding economic returns between 7 percent and 10 percent. Can your mutual fund do that?

And according to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, a dollar invested in quality preschool programs for low-income children generates $4 to $11 worth of economic benefits shared by everyone.

Far from being a form of welfare or entitlement spending, funding preschool education is a smart use of tax dollars and something progressives and conservatives alike should support. But unfortunately, state funding for quality preschool and child care has decreased dramatically during the Great Recession, even in California.

A newly released report from the California Budget Project found that the state cut spending on preschool and child care by 40 percent since 2008, which amounts to 110,000 fewer spaces for children in child-care and preschool programs.

The immediate effects of these cuts are felt disproportionately by low-income families, but the long-term consequences are felt by all of us.

Lack of access to affordable and quality child care and preschool hurts the economy in the short run, since parents find it harder to hold down a job while also taking care of their children, and welfare-to-work programs are thrown into disarray, stopping welfare recipients from getting off the dole and into paying jobs. But it also will have lasting effects for years to come, in lower high school graduation rates, greater dependence on welfare and other government programs, and higher crime rates — all of which means more government spending, less tax revenue, and a drag on the economic recovery.

California’s failure to invest in early childhood education also is a failure to invest in a future labor force of highly skilled workers, the lifeblood of the state’s IT and biotech industries. It’s become fashionable to call young children “little scientists” because of the way they conduct experiments on the world around them while playing. Preschool programs can build on this innate aptitude for science and help kids develop the critical math and reading skills they will need when they tackle the STEM classes (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in middle and high school.

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Reply What business is it of the government to fund high-quality preschool and child care? (Original post)
Addison Dec 2013 OP
elleng Dec 2013 #1

Response to Addison (Original post)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 05:11 PM

1. Damn good business.

Unfortunately 'we the people's' representatives have totally lost sight of the need for high quality education, beginning early, for a successful nation. Thus, we all are screwed.

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